A report from the American Lung Association says more people in North Dakota receive lung cancer treatment than anywhere else in the country.
And the report says while the survival rate in North Dakota is now 22.8%, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths. But it also says more indigenous people are being diagnosed with lung cancer.
It also says North Dakota is among the top for lung cancer screening and early diagnosis.
Lung Association Senior Director Pat McKone said the rate of use of commercial tobacco products among indigenous people is much higher than the general population.
"We really have to look at adapting and adopting programs that meet the needs of treatment for nicotine addiction with indigenous, in ways that respect the culture and the community," McKone said in an interview. "I'm really hoping the tribes will work together, to look at the ways we can reduce the levels of commercial tobacco smoking, and reduce the levels of exposure to second hand smoke."
McKone said North Dakota has come a long way, in terms of its clean indoor air act. She also said North Dakota was a leader in limiting the use of vaping products indoors.
But she said the state’s tax on cigarettes is 49th in the country.
"We know, from lots of good public health science, that raising the price of commercial tobacco products is one of the most effective ways to support people quitting," McKone said.
Several attempts have been made to raise the state’s tobacco tax. All have failed. But McKone said the Association plans to keep at it until those taxes are raised.